I'm machining some small (1" x 1.5") aluminum brackets and want these to be cosmetically nice. IOW, I'd like the machined surface to be unmarked by clamp or vise marks. How can clamp these things in a vise so that they won't get marked by the jaws and stay put while I'm cutting them? Soft (aluminum, brass,) jaws or spacers of some sort?
The marks left aren't hugely obvious but I'd like to get as close to perfection as I - and my limited skills - can.
I should add that I'm using my mill for this, although any info about lathe chuck mounting would also be helpful.
I knew a fellow who showed me a trick. He took a foot of 1" copper water pipe and would cut it down the middle and shape it to fit his vise's jaws. It was pretty slick & I've kept it in the back of my head to do some day on something I don't want to mar.
Did he use the copper pipe instead of flat stock for a reason, or was the tubing just an easy source of material?
Wasn't it always said in these types of situations, "You have me at a disadvantage, sir"?
How do I know you?
Hard plastic shimstock, fastened in place to the milling vise jaws with double sided tape.
I've been using a couple of pieces of plastic angle that came from some toy one of my son's had..... I wish I could find more, cause it works great. Ron
The usual soft metals or firm plastics in thin strips. Aluminum from old instrument cases, the kind that has pebble-grained vinyl bonded to the panels. Automotive wet/dry sand paper, with the plain paper side against the workpiece, and then cleaning the abrasive particles off the vise when done. Fibreglas tape or circuit board stock, foil tape, heavy paper stock such as file folder paper.
Wild Bill wrote:
I'm wondering what might be the problem with the hardened, steel jaws in your machine vise. Assuming that is what your have, that is. Are the parts an odd shape or very delicate? I often use alum soft jaws cut to the desired shape to hold the workpiece. The main thing in not marking up your parts is to keep everything CLEAN. That doesn't mean just blowing air, though that is often all that is needed. You must have the part and the jaws absolutely clean, no residue. Also, a vise can generate a lot of clamping force, don't be ham-handed. There is a time and place for leaning on the handle, and for not leaning on it. If your jaws have irregularities, that may mean there are depressed and protruding deformities. Use an Arkansas stone to rub out high spots. If you don't have one, or one in good shape, use a tool bit (lathe) and wrap some fine emory paper around it.
Good luck with the cosmetics, a little care and you should get nice results.
I used a couple of layers of duct tape over the jaws of my "little" bench vise yesterday while making a "spoon ring"for that guy who asked for one one here last week.
I was curling a flat sterling silver cutout around a piece of duct tape wrapped 3/8" iron pipe; Worked just fine for a quick "one off" job.
Score one more for duct tape....
In bench vises, I've used leather backed by plywood, sections of small extruded aluminum angle, chunks of rubber from heavy truck mud flaps and some magnet-backed nylon jaw faces made for the task. In a machine vise, I haven't used anything. I suppose some copper sheet shims, if clean on both sides, would work. Any of the things I've used in a bench vise might let your piece wiggle around too much at the wrong time in a mill. If your machine vise jaws are clean and smooth, there shouldn't be much for marks left on the workpiece.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Schaefer) wrote:
Often a thin sheet of paper helps the vise hold the work and prevents marks too.
In the milling machine vise, two if it's flaaaaattt, or three if it's not quite, pennies. Works a treat. Use the pennies under the work too, for clamping to the table.
And to get something small in place in the bench vise, put it in Silly Putty and then squeeze. It's like having four hands!
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX On 23 Jan 2004 13:28:00 -0800, email@example.com (Stan Schaefer) wrote: